Dumpsters, not ducks, attracting rodents, biologist says

Memorial University is asking people to stop feeding the ducks at Burton's Pond in St. John's, but a local biologist said that won't solve the university's rodent problem.

Memorial University is asking people to stop feeding ducks around Burton's Pond on its St. John's campus.

But a local biologist says that won't solve MUN's rodent problem.

After consulting with its pest control provider, MUN issued a statement last week and posted signs around the area to discourage people from feeding the mallards.

According to the statement, controlling the amount of bird food leftovers would discourage rodents from frequenting the area.

But biologist Steve Carr says if the ducks have to go elsewhere to get food, the university's plan may backfire.

"Actually, birds are the major food for the rats, and if you take out the birds, the rats starve. I think one of the definite possibilities here is if you eliminate the ducks, the rats are simply going to go inside more, and especially during the winter," he said.

Carr said he's heard reports of mice and rats in the Burton's Pond residences, in the science building, and at the daycare centre, but he doubts the ducks are to blame.

"I think the problem on campus is that there's a lot of uncovered dumpsters at Burton's Pond, up near the daycare centre, and on the main campus," he said.